Fate of plastic waste
Very large quantities of plastic waste leak into the environment from sources both on land and at sea, generating significant economic and environmental damage.
Globally, 5 to 13 million tonnes of plastics end up in the oceans every year. Plastic debris is then transported by marine currents, sometimes over very long distances. It can be washed up on land, degrade into microplastics or form dense areas of marine litter trapped in ocean gyres.
Research shows that a large share of ocean plastic stems from sources on land due to insufficient waste management in low- and lower-middle income countries.